US Calls India World’s Largest Democracy, Important Strategic Partner 

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Washington: The US Department of State spokesperson, Matthew Miller, was put on the spot to address recent publications alleging democratic backsliding in India and the US navigating the relationship with the country.

Matthew Miller, while responding to a question, reaffirmed America’s relations with India and said that the latter country is an important strategic partner of the US. “So India is the world’s largest democracy, it is an important strategic partner of the United States, and I expect that to remain true,” Miller said in a daily press briefing on Monday.

On April 4, US Department of State spokesperson Mathew Miller questioned whether the State Department was taking a stand on the arrest of Indian opposition leader Arvind Kejriwal but not doing the same on the arrests of Pakistani opposition leaders. Matthew Miller refused to categorise both cases into one and said that the US wanted to see everyone in Pakistan treated with consistent rule of law and human rights.

The arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been raised several times in the press briefing. Kejriwal was arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) for alleged money laundering in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. Earlier, Miller also responded to India’s summoning US diplomat over comments on Delhi CM Kejriwal’s arrest and freezing of the Congress party’s bank accounts, to which he said that they are following these actions closely.

“We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. We are also aware of the Congress party’s allegations that tax authorities have frozen some of their bank accounts in a manner that will make it challenging to effectively campaign in the upcoming elections,” Miller added.

“And we encourage fair, transparent and timely legal processes for each of these issues,” he stressed. Stating that India is proud of its “robust and independent” democratic institutions, the Ministry of External Affairs called the remarks by the US State Department on the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal “unwarranted”, adding that any such external imputation on our electoral and legal processes is “completely unacceptable.”

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